HE Shared Legal is a national shared legal guidance and support service for the UK higher education sector.

HE Shared Legal provides ad hoc legal guidance to subscriber institutions in relation to individual enquiries.  In addition, we circulate generic guidance in the form of a regular newsletter highlighting legal developments of relevance to the sector.  We also offer a legal services consultancy service, which is available to all HE institutions.

Governance: OfS and standard student contract templates

The Office for Students (OfS), which is the main regulator of higher education in England, has been asked by the Department for Education to consider options for setting out students’ consumer rights in the form of standard contract templates. In a letter to OfS dated...

Employment: NI Court of Appeal: reasonable adjustments and autism

In British Telecommunications PLC v Kevin Owen Meier [2019] NICA 43 the Northern Ireland (NI) Court of Appeal considered whether an employer had failed to make reasonable adjustments to a psychometric test in relation to a neuro-diverse job applicant. Mr Meier...

Newsletter Issue 107

The following topics are covered in this newsletter:
Governance: OfS and standard contract template; UUK guidance on dangers of initiations
Procurement: OJEU notices and ineffectiveness claims
Data Protection: Right to be forgotten
Employment: NI Court of Appeal: reasonable adjustments and autism
FAQ Equality: What is a belief for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010?
Read Full Article…

Newsletter 106

Charity: Charity Commission updates guidance on exempt charities
Data protection: Updated guidance on timescales for responding to SARs
Employment: Court of Appeal – holiday for part-year workers not subject to pro rata reduction; Good work plan – one-sided flexibility
Equality: Women and Equalities Committee report: Enforcing the Equality Act 2010 and the role of the EHRC
Procurement: Time limit for claims and disclosure obligations
FAQ: Commercial Agreements – What is a ‘termination for damage to reputation’ clause?
Read Full Article…

Procurement: Time limit for claims and disclosure obligations

In Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust v Cornwall Council [2019] EWHC 2211 (TCC), the Technology and Construction Court (the ‘Court’) considered a claim brought by the incumbent provider, the Trust, under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (the ‘PCR’) against the...

Charity: Charity Commission updates guidance on exempt charities

The Charity Commission guidance on exempt charities (CC23) has been updated to include current details of principal regulators, and information related to regulations that have recently come into force. Exempt charities are institutions that have charitable status and...

Employment: Government launch consultation on sexual harassment in the workplace

The Government Equalities Office has launched a consultation on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.  The consultation, which was published on 11 July 2019, follows the Government's response to the report on sexual harassment in the workplace by the Women and...

Data protection: ICO’s updated data sharing code of practice

The Information Commissioner (ICO) published a ‘consultation on the draft data sharing code of practice’ on 16 July 2019.  The ICO is required by the Data Protection Act 2018 to update its data sharing code of practice, which was published in 2011.  The ICO had...


Frequently asked questions

What is HE Shared Legal?

HE Shared Legal is a shared, non-profit-making, legal guidance and support service for HE institutions throughout the UK.

What does HE Shared Legal do?

There are three main elements to our work:

  • Shared, "in-house" legal service – providing guidance and support with (ie generally answering) specific legal enquiries in the manner of an in-house lawyer
  • Generic guidance – publication of regular newsletters and FAQs on a wide range of legal topics of relevance to HEIs
  • Legal services consultancy – assistance and support with the selection, engagement, instruction and,if required, ongoing monitoring of external legal advisers
What is the significance of the ‘in-house’ aspect?

As far as possible, HE Shared Legal works with institution representatives on a friendly, informal basis, as if the HE Shared Legal lawyer was physically embedded within the institution concerned. We also endeavour to establish a strong working relationship with the relevant HEI managers and a sound understanding of the institution and its approach to governance, risk management, etc.

What areas of law are covered?

The service deals with nine broad areas of law, as follows:

  • Employment
  • Property
  • Charity
  • Environmental
  • Commercial Agreements (including procurement law)
  • Banking and Financial Services
  • Corporate and governance
  • Tax, insurance and pensions
  • Intellectual Property and IT law
Are there any other aspects to the work of HE Shared Legal?

In addition to the three main elements described above, the service also offers the following:

  • Preliminary transaction and case planning
  • Trouble shooting
  • The conduct of joint projects
  • The development of standard procedures and documents
What are the limits to the HE Shared Legal service, ie what does HE Shared Legal not do?

The service has no mandate to deal with the following:

  • Provide professional legal advice, with the benefit of legal liability (as opposed to informal, legal ‘guidance’ and ‘support’)
  • Represent institutions in relation to dealings with third parties
  • Conduct cases or transactions, although preliminary case/transaction planning is provided

Where support of this nature is required, HE Shared Legal will be happy to assist with the selection and engagement, on competitive terms, of suitable specialist legal advisers.

Who are the typical users of the service?

The service may be used by any nominated representative within a subscriber institution. Typically, the users of the service will be senior managers from one or more of the following disciplines:

  • Finance
  • Commercial
  • Governance
  • HR
  • Estates
  • Registry
  • Procurement
When did the service start?

The service opened for business on 1 May 2012.

How many institutions have joined the service?


There are currently seven subscriber institutions, located in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.


How is HE Shared Legal funded?

Having been funded initially by HEFCE grant, the service is now financed by subscription fees from subscriber institutions.  We also offer legal services consultancy to other HEIs and relevant sector bodies.

How much is the subscription?


The current subscription fee is £9,500, exclusive of VAT, covering the period of twelve months from 1 August 2019 to 31 July 2020. There are no additional usage or other charges.


How is the service staffed?

There are three members of staff – all lawyers qualified in Scotland as solicitors (and one is also qualified to practise law in Greece).  All three have a predominantly commercial background, which is suited to the ‘business to business’ character and ‘employer-side’ role of much of their work.

What legal form does the service take?


HE Shared Legal Limited is a company limited by guarantee, managed by its employee directors.  The company is planning in the longer term to convert the service from a subscription basis to a full VAT cost sharing group or some other suitable structure involving a measure of 'ownership' by the subscribing institutions.


Finally, what are the main benefits of the service?

The principal benefits of a subscription to HE Shared Legal are as follows:

  • Ready access to experienced legal resources at low cost
  • Potential to achieve substantial savings on external legal fees
  • Assistance with development of good practice and assurance
  • Access to sector-wide intelligence and contacts on legal issues
  • Part of the HEI 'corporate armoury'

For further information, please contact HE Shared Legal on 0141 237 5880 or enquiries@hesharedlegal.ac.uk.